It’s no secret that iPhones have changed the face of photography, but they have also helped in making photography accessible and available to the masses. Going back twenty or thirty years, photography as a hobby was a whole other ball game and had a completely diﬀerent opinion regarding it. Photography just wasn’t as ‘cool’ as it is today, and photographers certainly weren’t (the term anorak may have been used once or twice).
Thankfully, those days are behind us and now anyone with a smartphone has the ability to create stunning photographs, and with the financial backing, just about anyone can buy themselves a DSLR and take professional looking photos with the click of a button. With the increased ease of photography, what we take photographs of has changed, the everyday and the banal has infiltrated our Instagram feeds and we can’t move without seeing a photo of someone’s breakfast or an amusing piece of graﬃti. My favourite thing about this style is photography is that it is nothing new and I’m going to shine a light on its forefather, and in my opinion, the most influential and intelligent photographer of the twentieth century, Stephen Shore.
During the years of 1972-1973, Shore set out on a road trip across America with his Rollei 35mm and took truly fantastic photographs. He managed to find beauty and function in almost everything and forced the viewer to look at the everyday slightly diﬀerently, allowing us to appreciate the smallest things. American Surfaces is a mediation on what it means to be in the world, what it means to point a camera in one direction rather than another, and no matter what is being recorded, its subject is always photography itself.
Keep scrolling down to see what Shore photographed in the 70s and think how it has influenced thousands of photographers today, without them even knowing it.
Written by Tom Loughran